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Nov 16, 2017

B.T.L. Still a Bee in P.U.P. Bonnet

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied, without explanation, a review of the Government of Belize’s case against the Belize Bank Limited in a long-standing arbitration settlement dating back to 2004.  The Bank had settled with the then-P.U.P. Government to pay close to forty million Belize dollars to satisfy the debt of Universal Health Services, now Belize Healthcare Partners Limited.  The current administration has steadfastly refused to pay the debt despite arbitration going against them in London and a standing enforcement order in the U.S. which the Supreme Court there upheld. Belize’s courts have ruled differently and the C.C.J. is considering an appeal of that aspect of the case.  Today, the Opposition Leader drew a comparison with the B.T.L. fiasco, stating that the Prime Minister’s braggadocio continues to damage Belize financially and its international reputation as well.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“The Prime Minister loves to do these things, because then it means more and more of his people can make millions of dollars in legal fees. If you remember in 2009 when he took over B.T.L., he got a company in the U.K., I think it’s Mira, Mira evaluation company to value B.T.L. and [they] valued B.T.L. at a little over a hundred million dollars and he said I’m not paying more than that, because this is the true value. And here we come to 2015, when he goes by himself with his law partner and signs an agreement with the owners of B.T.L. Lo and behold, we find out that signature costs us five hundred and fifty-seven million dollars. He comes around and says yes we will pay that, but out of that two hundred million dollars is going to stay for Belize; that is what I negotiated, so it’s a great day for Belize. Here we find out a few weeks ago that it is not so. All of that money, we are getting – I’m not going to say on TV what we are getting, but the point is that he was once again either duped, [outsmarted] or something happened when he signed, because it is a simple agreement, it is just a few pages, he must could have taken some time, half an hour to read and realize that that is a one-side agreement, but he signed it. And now what is he telling you? “Mea culpa, I made a mistake, two hundred million,” two hundred million and he just flippantly says that’s just two hundred million dollars, my mistake. We have people that can’t send their children to school because they can’t feed them. We have people right here in Southside Belize City living in swamp; they don’t have access to water, they don’t have electricity, their children can’t go to school. And two hundred million – “my mistake.” We have to hold the Prime Minister responsible for that two hundred million dollars.”

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